SPORTS

Canada's Nedohin wins second in a row to open women's world curling championship

03/18/2012 07:46 EDT | Updated 05/18/2012 05:12 EDT
LETHBRIDGE, Alta. - Heather Nedohin's curling team may have won a national championship wearing Alberta colours, but three of the four athletes hail from points across the country.

Now that they're representing Canada at the women's world championship, Nedohin's foursome is drawing interest from those regions.

Nedohin learned to curl in Fort St. John, B.C., where her father and other relatives still live, before moving to Alberta for college and university.

Carrot River, Sask., is claiming lead Laine Peters as their own because she grew up there. Beth Iskiw is from Truro, N.S., and represented that province in two national women's championships before moving west eight years ago.

Second Jessica Mair, a high school teacher from Edmonton, is the only player born and raised in Alberta.

In the age of social media, people in places where the other three once lived used to live are reaching out.

"It is truly amazing what Facebook and tweeting and all that, how it unites everybody," Nedohin marvelled Sunday. "Having the diversity of our team members, it's fun."

The host team won their second in a row to open the world championships with a 7-5 victory over Bingyu Wang of China on Sunday. Canada was to meet Switzerland at night.

Peters not only has roots in Saskatchewan, but also in Nova Scotia where she lived and curled for a decade before moving west again a few years ago.

In fact, Iskiw and Peters were Nova Scotia teammates at the 2004 Canadian women's curling championship. Both received well-wishing e-mails from the province's Progressive Conservative party, even though neither of them live there.

"I've gotten tons of e-mails from Truro and tons of people who were in the club," Iskiw said. "Even just all over Nova Scotia and people that we knew from Halifax and my brother's friends, government even. The PC party e-mailed me. That's been a bit of a surprise."

The e-mails, texts and phone calls from Carrot River, northeast of Saskatoon, surprised Peters.

"The support from Carrot River has been unbelievable," she said. "A lot of people I don't even keep in touch with, but I love it."

"I didn't expect to stay in Nova Scotia so long. It's just I had so much curling commitment. Lots of support throughout the whole province of Nova Scotia, all through Saskatchewan, all through Alberta and friends across the country."

Peters, 41, moved to Calgary in 2009 and works in human resources for an energy company. Dozens of her Calgary co-workers were at Enmax Centre on Sunday wearing green "Go Laine" T-shirts.

Iskiw's husband Blayne is originally from Edmonton and they relocated there in 2004. Iskiw works as an account managers at a publishing company and they have two young children.

"When you move you make roots in Alberta," Iskiw said. "It's nice to still have your roots in Nova Scotia and people cheering you on."

Shortly after her introduction into the Alberta curling community, Nedohin met and married David Nedohin, who won four Canadian men's championships and three world titles throwing fourth stones for Randy Ferbey. The couple live in Sherwood Park and have two daughters.

While Nedohin says she's feeling "great vibes," she was stunned by the well wishes from her competitors including former national champion Amber Holland of Saskatchewan.

"I'm just loving the previous connections from B.C., but what I'm appreciating is the competitors within the nation," the skip said. "I can name endless teams from across Canada sending in their support. I take great pride in that. We're out battling each other all the time, yet they take the time to send us a note."

Wang won her country's first world title in 2009, but China dropped to 0-2 with the loss to Canada.

Canada joined Germany's Melanie Robillard and Switzerland's Mirjam Ott at 2-0.

Sweden's Margaretha Sigfriddson doubled Linda Klimova of the Czech Republic 10-5 to put both teams at 2-1. South Korea's Ji-Sun Kim was also 2-1 after a 6-5 win over Italy's Diana Gaspari.

Scotland's Eve Muirhead and Denmark's Lene Nielson were both 1-1.

Ott downed Allison Pottinger of the U.S. 11-7, dropping the Americans to 0-2 alongside China and Russia's Anna Sidorova. Italy was winless in three games.

Canada struggled with draw weight early against China. Nedohin was sometimes fooled on where to put the broom in the rings. But the Canadians' hitting game carried them in the first five ends and the hosts led 3-2 at the halfway mark.

Nedohin scored two points in the fourth and sixth ends. Wang missed a gift-wrapped opportunity for a deuce in the third when her shooter hit and rolled out of the rings.

Canada split the house in the sixth end with counters too far apart for China to double off. Nedohin was able to draw for two and a 5-2 lead.

Nedohin executed a difficult tap to punch China out of the rings in the fifth end. Wang drew against three Canadian counters for one and trailed by a point.

In the fourth, Nedohin came around a guard and made a delicate tap for two on the button and score two.

"We were definitely figuring out rocks and ice," Nedohin said. "There were a few challenges there. We still played well, but from the first half to the second half we maybe owned shots a little bit more.

"All we look at it is how we're playing as a whole and I like what I see."

MORE:cpSports